On June 18, 2014, Hospice staff confirmed what I had known two days earlier–that my mother had actively begun the dying process. I got to spend that last week with my mom, much of it while she was unable to speak, and it was a transformative experience for which I am incredibly grateful. I shared the journey with friends and family on Facebook, and some asked me to continue to write. My mother’s death marks a natural rite of passage for me and naturally ushers in a time of transition, so I’ve decided to write about my journey through this new phase of my life. Thanks for being a part of it. Namaste.
Here is the story of how this blog got its name as posted on Facebook on June 20th, the day before my mother passed over.
Many years ago, mom and I talked and I told her that I associate her mom, my nana, with cardinals. Whenever I see a cardinal, I think of her and believe she is letting me know she is around. I told my mom that once she had transcended this dimension, that I wanted her to return to me as a blue jay (or another blue bird should I live in a different place) and that then I would know it was her. I reminded her of this at some point yesterday or this morning as I whispered in her ear.
About an hour ago, I told her I had to step out to the car for a few minutes. I didn’t tell her it was to get papers needed for the funeral home arrangements. As I sat in the car looking through my “mom bag,” full of all the documents needed to authenticate my role as her guardian, etc, I caught a fluttering in my peripheral vision. My car was parked in front off a landscaping berm, so the grass was nearly level with my windshield. And, there on the lawn danced a beautiful blue jay. It hopped and turned to face me, then flew up to a branch in the tree and quickly disappeared.
I started to laugh and to cry. She no longer has a voice, so I believe this was her way of letting me know that she has heard every word I’ve whispered in her ear and that she has accepted my apologies and forgiveness for our mis-steps along this journey, that the only thing between us is the pure essence of love that binds our souls together for eternity.
When I came back to her bedside, I kissed her and thanked her for showing me that she had found her wings. Her body is still here, but her spirit is detaching. I am so grateful for the connection that we share and know that time and space will not diminish that.
Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…